HA NOI — Due to inefficiencies related to the country's 3G mobile service providers, the licence for the more modern 4G service will be put on hold until around 2018, experts have said.
|Customers use D-com 3G services provided by Viettel. After three years developing the 3G service, Viet Nam has more than 12.8 million subscribers. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Thanh Giang
This was one of the leading issues discussed at a recent conference on the national telecommunications development plan by 2020, held by the Ministry of Information and Communications in Ha Noi.
After three years developing the 3G service, Viet Nam has more than 12.8 million subscribers, across four providers, namely VinaPhone, MobiFone, Viettel and Vietnamobile.
While the nearly-13 million subscribers appears positive, the quality of the service is still poor, and revenues have remained below expectations. To stimulate demand, providers have launched increasingly inexpensive packages to attract new subscribers and entice current subscribers to upgrade to the 3G service.
Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Hung said one of the bottlenecks restricting 3G development was that content suppliers - such as mobile TV, online music and online payment companies - for 3G services were not encouraged to participate.
This under-stimulation of 3G services has been named one of the main reasons the service has not picked up. Consumers are also spending less as the nation's economic situation has stagnated.
Customers employing 3G services have mainly used the service to surf the web, and awareness of 3G service remains poor, according to a recent survey on customer satisfaction with 3G services, conducted by the Viet Nam Post Newspaper.
At the meeting, Nguyen Minh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Institute on Information and Communications Strategy, said it was necessary to enhance 3G services and broadband internet services throughout the country.
Last May, Viettel tested 4G mobile technology but decided not to pursue it.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said time was needed for enterprises to recoup investment capital from 3G technology, and that the ministry might consider 4G technology licensing by 2018.
Son also emphasised that the State should consider applying 4G technology at an appropriate time to ensure pace-keeping with regional countries. — VNS